Seventeen Years after Its Attack on the World Trade Center, Al-Qaeda Is Still Very Much Alive

While improved American counterterrorism efforts have made attacks on the U.S. much less likely, and the killing of key figures—most importantly, Osama bin Laden—has severely disrupted al-Qaeda, the organization is far from extinguished. Crucial to its continued success are its relations with Iran and the Taliban, as Thomas Joscelyn writes:

When we look at the organization as a whole, it quickly becomes apparent that al-Qaeda has many thousands of men around the globe. Indeed, al-Qaeda is waging jihad in far more countries today than it was on 9/11, with loyalists fighting everywhere from West Africa, through North and East Africa, into the heart of the Middle East and into South Asia. . . .

The Obama administration’s Treasury and State Departments revealed in 2011 that al-Qaeda’s Iran-based network serves as the organization’s “core pipeline through which” it “moves money, facilitators, and operatives from across the Middle East to South Asia.” This pipeline operates under an “agreement” between al-Qaeda and the Iranian government. In the years since the Obama administration first exposed this “secret deal,” the U.S. government has revealed additional details about other al-Qaeda leaders operating inside Iran, including “new-generation” figures who were groomed to replace their fallen comrades. . . .

Al-Qaeda [also] continues to have a significant presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and some senior managers are operating in those two countries. One of the principal reasons the group has been able to weather the America-led counterterrorism storm in South Asia is its relationship with the Taliban. This is perhaps the most underestimated aspect of al-Qaeda’s operations. . . .

The U.S. and its allies have failed to defeat al-Qaeda. The organization has survived multiple challenges. . . . From Afghanistan to West Africa, al-Qaeda loyalists are attempting to build their own caliphate. . . . Al-Qaeda’s leadership has [meanwhile] deprioritized professional attacks on the West. The group hasn’t attempted to carry out a mass casualty attack in the U.S. or Europe in years. But that could change at any time. It would then be up to America’s and Europe’s formidable defenses to stop them.

Read more at Weekly Standard

More about: 9/11, Al Qaeda, Iran, Osama bin Laden, Taliban, U.S. Foreign policy, War on Terror

 

The ICJ’s Vice-President Explains What’s Wrong with Its Recent Ruling against Israel

It should be obvious to anyone with even rudimentary knowledge of the Gaza war that Israel is not committing genocide there, or anything even remotely akin to it. In response to such spurious accusations, it’s often best to focus on the mockery they make of international law itself, or on how Israel can most effectively combat them. Still, it is also worth stopping to consider the legal case on its own terms. No one has done this quite so effectively, to my knowledge, as the Ugandan jurist Julia Sebutinde, who is the vice-president of the ICJ and the only one of its judges to rule unequivocally in Israel’s favor both in this case and in the previous one where it found accusations of genocide “plausible.”

Sebutinde begins by questioning the appropriateness of the court ruling on this issue at all:

Once again, South Africa has invited the Court to micromanage the conduct of hostilities between Israel and Hamas. Such hostilities are exclusively governed by the laws of war (international humanitarian law) and international human-rights law, areas where the Court lacks jurisdiction in this case.

The Court should also avoid trying to enforce its own orders. . . . Is the Court going to reaffirm its earlier provisional measures every time a party runs to it with allegations of a breach of its provisional measures? I should think not.

Sebutinde also emphasizes the absurdity of hearing this case after Israel has taken “multiple concrete actions” to alleviate the suffering of Gazan civilians since the ICJ’s last ruling. In fact, she points out, “the evidence actually shows a gradual improvement in the humanitarian situation in Gaza since the Court’s order.” She brings much evidence in support of these points.

She concludes her dissent by highlighting the procedural irregularities of the case, including a complete failure to respect the basic rights of the accused:

I find it necessary to note my serious concerns regarding the manner in which South Africa’s request and incidental oral hearings were managed by the Court, resulting in Israel not having sufficient time to file its written observations on the request. In my view, the Court should have consented to Israel’s request to postpone the oral hearings to the following week to allow for Israel to have sufficient time to fully respond to South Africa’s request and engage counsel. Regrettably, as a result of the exceptionally abbreviated timeframe for the hearings, Israel could not be represented by its chosen counsel, who were unavailable on the dates scheduled by the Court.

It is also regrettable that Israel was required to respond to a question posed by a member of the Court over the Jewish Sabbath. The Court’s decisions in this respect bear upon the procedural equality between the parties and the good administration of justice by the Court.

Read more at International Court of Justice

More about: Gaza War 2023, ICC, International Law